The project “Empowering indigenous communities through Agroecology Learning Circles (ALCs) for
resilient, integrated and innovative natural resource management” is funded by the World Bank and
supported by Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA). ALCs combined agroecology with
participatory research and aims to empower indigenous communities to recognize, revive, practice, and
eventually further develop traditional agroecology technologies and practices and stimulates local
innovation for sustainable local food systems. Natural resource management investigated through ALCs
– Land planning and seed selection for community resilience;
– Increasing Yield by reducing loss through Pest Management;
– Reversing soil degradation.

The project also aims to achieve:
– Greater accountability across ALC members to resolve priority issues;
– Ease of access to blended indigenous-contemporary solutions already documented;
– Continued and expanded community learning through intuition and community led experiments;
– Ease of knowledge exchanges across different ALC clusters;
– Preparation for long term ALC community ownership.

The project area include 100 villages from all three major indigenous communities in Meghalaya (Khasi,
Garo and Jaintia) across 7 of the 12 districts in Meghalaya.


The project’s MOU was signed in November 2021 and funds of Rs 1,74, 24,931. 00 (One crore seventy four lakhs twenty
four thousand nine hundred and thirty one only) received on December 23, 2021. The first two months was mainly preparatory works focused on recruitment, setting up systems, startup workshops with the partner organizations namely: Society for Urban and Rural Empowerment, Jowai and Social Service Centre, Shillong and confirming with the project villages through the Free Prior and Informed Consent process. The report highlights the key activities undertaken during March, April and May 2022.


Seed Exchange Visit held at Sohmynting, West Jaintia Hills


1. Workshops on problem solving, objective setting & community work-plan: 33 workshops were completed in this quarter, which focused on the following objectives:

  • To List the problems faced by farmers in terms of soil, pest and seeds and provide existing solutions to those problems.
  • To Identify the knowledge Gap.
  • To document traditional knowledge and practices from knowledge holders.
  • To share the existing solutions to problems of one community with another community.

Outputs of the workshop/s include:

  • 100 villages participated in these workshops.
  • 29 problems on farming has been identified and prioritized. (See Annex 1)
  • Solutions/experiments for these problems have been identified/shared by the farmers. They will now require testing and validating. (See Annex 1)

Cluster level Technical training held at Laitsohpliah, East Khasi Hills



Seed Exchange Visit held at Madanrtiang, Ri-Bhoi

2. Signing of ALC Pledge: A total of 188 ALC groups have signed the “ALC Member Pledge” from the 100 partner communities. The pledge guarantees the membership of the farmers in their ALC groups and at the same time assures the roles and responsibilities and the commitment of each member towards the ALC group.

3. Development of Community work plan: 188 ALC groups have developed a work plan (Annex 2) at the community level to initiate the work on the experiments which have been

4. Facilitation of exchange visits: A total of 40 exchange visits have been facilitated. The exchange visits focused on Community Seed Bank, School Garden, Knowledge exchange on soil, pest management, experiments, seeds, traditional medicine. The programmes saw the participation from 89 project villages and 12 non project villages.


Exchange Visit held at Wakringtongre school garden, West Garo Hills

5. Technical training by NESFAS and/or experts on soil/pest: A total of 42 technical trainings have been facilitated in this quarter. The trainings include: seed propagation, orange plantation, pest management and soil health. There were also two non project villages
who took part in these trainings.

technical training

Group discussion by ALC members of Thadmuthlong village, West Jaintia Hills.

6. Leadership training programme: In the quest to encourage and engage young leaders within its partner communities, NESFAS organised 3 leadership training programmes for Community Facilitators (CFs) from all project villages, in association with the State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD) at Nongsder, to build capacity and enhance the leadership performance of the CFs. The training curriculum was designed to strengthen leadership qualities, communication and also to help in documenting stories from the ground to promote sustainable traditional farming and food systems. In addition, all the 100 CFs have imparted the same training to the ALC members in their respective villages.


ALC Leadership Training held at Mawhiang, East Khasi Hills

7. Agrobiodiversity (ABD) Walk: A total of 97 ABD walks have been organised in this quarter across the 97 villages in Meghalaya led by the CFs and ALC Members. The programmes saw the participation of more than 2500 youth, children, ALC members and elderly and led by custodian farmers. The main aim of the ABD walk is to facilitate intergenerational knowledge exchange, at the same time, to inculcate appreciation of the rich biodiversity of their community and the importance of protecting Mother Nature. The programme also helped young generation learn, identify and document the cultivated crops and
wild edibles plants from the various food production systems. In the process, the custodian farmer also explained the children about the traditional value of the food plants, along with the nutritive values as per the local knowledge.

seed exchange 2

Seed exchange among farmers at Daribokgre, East Garo Hills

8. Support community to design their ALC experiments: Upto May, a total of 38 participatory experiments have been initiated. Some of the activities include: soil management, plantation of pest-repellent crop like marigold, job’s tears cultivation in ALC gardens, pest management, vertical garden training, participatory video documentation on the experiments.

9. Training on Participatory Research methodology for ALC Experiments: Under this activity, the Field team members- Associates and the CFs- have been trained on the methodology for conducting the participatory research on all the ALC experiments. In this regard, two trainings have been achieved.

Output Tracker 1 Category 1: Awareness and Community Trust for newly
selected 71 villages
Total targets Targets achieved
till Mar,2022
A General awareness and invitation to participate given to whole community – General awareness with entire community programme about the project explaining project goals and objective. Manage expectations by sharing the list of activities available under programme. 100 100 Completed
B ABD (Agrobiodiversity Walks) with community and NESFAS experts to explore diversity of local species together 40 97 Completed
C With Custodian Farmers that agreed to join ALC -orientation and and invitation to sign free and prior informed consent and engage support of Village Council 30 30 Completed
D Community led ALC Kick-off Workshop – explaining the purpose of ALC, ways of working, allocating leadership responsibilities, agree meeting schedules, initial expectations for long term ownership of ALC 30 103 Completed 2 Category 2: Analysis of Existing Information and
Identification of Knowledge Gaps and Opportunities
A ALC Agroecology Problem Solving and Objective setting Workshop (2-3 days) – Ask community to discuss problem; reveal solutions already available in the community; identify knowledge gaps 40 33 Will follow up in the next sowing season.
B Develop a community work plan that addresses priority problems agreed on by consensus and decide on the need for additional experts or not 40 100 Completed
C Training from NESFAS and or experts to share relevant
technical and practical guidance and give ALC members opportunity to ask questions e.g. how to set up a seed bank, how to choose seeds, how to create good compost
40 42 Completed
D Facilitate exchange visits between villages that have complementary problems/solutions so ALC members can
learn from other ALC members in other regions
40 40 Completed 3 Category:3 Community Led Participatory
Research and Experiments
A Training on Participatory Research methodology for ALC Experiments that includes information on data collection, stakeholder engagement, data analysis 25 2 The groundwork has started and training
are ongoing.
B Support community in design their ALC experiments 30 38 4 Category 4 : Supervise and facilitate experimentation & ensure ALC accountability
A Variety of activities to include field inspections, support in answering practical questions, sourcing of missing information, accountability 55 0 Ongoing
B Analyse experiment results and draft feedback and recommended follow-up actions 15 0 5 Category 5 :Knowledge Dissemination and Propagation
A Transfer experiment feedback and findings into videos, leaflets, community demonstrations 30 0 Ongoing
B Share experiment findings at village and cluster level through meetings and workshops and events e.g. food
festivals, seeds fairs
10 0
C Develop a Detailed Knowledge Collation and Communication Strategy 1 0
D Execution of social media and radio campaigns as per strategy 216 Social
10 Radio
E Regular identification of ALC community member ready to share their findings and participatory video and audio interviews 60 Stories 25
15 PV 0
F State level workshop to share findings with policy makers 1 0 6 Category 6 :Empowering Community to
Continue Long Term Problem Shooting
A Workshop to develop a plan of action with the village councils to take forward the initiative 50 0 To be conducted after
development of workplan


Stories from the ground:


  1. Agroecology Learning Circles step up to defend traditional food systems
  2. Local farmers work together, solve problems on agricultural obstacles
  3. The inception of Agroecology Learning Circles and local methods of composting
  4. Tackling day-to-day agricultural problems, hand-in-hand: Testimonies from the ground
  5. Custodian farmer from Jaintia Hills successfully promotes traditional method for pest management
  6. Farmer from Mawbri advocates for return to traditional farming
  7. International Women’s Day – Honoring Indigenous Food Sheroes
  8. Women empowered to play active roles: 28 Village Councils include women as members
  9. Bah Grossful Pariong and his 20 ducks: A story of an unconventional way of pest management
  10. Madanrtiang spearheads community-led indigenous seed preservation
  11. Back to their roots: Farmers from Pyrda bring change in the food system
  12. Community Seed Bank exchange visit at Mulum
  13. Agrobiodiversity Walk: A tool for intergenerational knowledge exchange
  14. Learning to stand on their own little feet: Children’s Durbar in Umsawwar becomes best platform
  15. Seeds of today for fruits of tomorrow
  16. Nongtraw paves the way for seed sharing among neighboring communities
  17. Community Seed Fair for strengthening Indigenous Food Systems
  18. Leaders for a better tomorrow: Excerpts from Leadership Development Programme
  19. Wild leafy vegetable ‘Sohkhia Khlaw’: A highlight of Mawhiang’s ABD Walk
  20. Keeping Tradition Alive: Mynriah farmer still relies on Almanac for sowing
  21. Mulum Community Seed Bank leads the way in preserving and disseminating indigenous seeds
  22. Tried and tested-Exploring indigenous pest management
  23. Foundations on Grass: The Story of Samingre community
  24. Agrobiodiversity Walk – A tool for preserving traditional food systems among children




  1. Compilation of the agrobiodiversity (food plants) identified during ABD (Agrobiodiversity) walks
  2. Conduct a background study on the problems of soil, seeds, pest which have been prioritized.
  3. Support ALC members in designing experiments and initiate the same.
  4. Training on Participatory Research to the ALC members for monitoring of experimental plots.
  5. Supervision of the experiments initiated by ALC members.
  6. Participatory video documentation and initiate development of Information, Education and
    Communication (IEC) materials.






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